Massachusetts Town Marriages Index (FamilySearch Historical Records)

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Massachusetts Town Marriages Index, ca. 1638-1961 .
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This article describes a collection of records at FamilySearch.org.
Massachusetts, United States
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Flag of Massachusetts
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Location of Massachusetts
Record Description
Record Type Marriage Index
Collection years 1638-1961
FamilySearch Resources
Related Websites


What is in the Collection?

This collection includes records from 1638 to 1961. It is an index to various town and vital marriages from these counties: Berkshire, Bristol, Dukes, Essex, Franklin, Hampden, Hampshire, Norfolk, Plymouth, Suffolk, and Worcester. A few church records are included.

You can browse through images in this collection by visiting the browse page for Massachusetts Town Records, ca. 1638-1961.

Collection Content

Coverage Map

To see a coverage map of FamilySearch's holdings of Massachusetts marriages, click here.

Sample Images

What Can this Collection Tell Me?

The birth records usually contain:

  • Name of child
  • Gender
  • Parent's name
  • Birth date
  • Birth place
  • Parent's residence
  • Father's occupation
  • Birthplace of parents
  • Name of informant

The marriage records usually contain:

  • Page or certificate number
  • Marriage date
  • Names of bride and groom
  • Residence of bride and groom
  • Age of bride and groom
  • Occupation of bride and groom
  • Birthplaces of bride and groom
  • Names of parents of bride and groom
  • Name and information about the officiator

How Do I Search the Collection?

Before searching this collection, it is helpful to know:

  • The name of your ancestor.
  • The approximate date of the marriage.
  • The town where the marriage occurred.

Search the Index

Search by name by visiting the Collection Page.
  1. Fill in the search boxes on the Collection Page with the information you have
  2. Click Search to show possible matches


Keep in mind:

  • There may be more than one person in the records with the same name.
  • You may not be sure of your own ancestor’s name.
  • Your ancestor may have used different names, or variations of their name, throughout their life.
  • If your ancestor used an alias or a nickname, be sure to check for those alternate names.
  • Even though these indexes are very accurate they may still contain inaccuracies, such as altered spellings, misinterpretations, and optical character recognition errors if the information was scanned.

View the Images

View images in this collection by visiting the Browse Page:

  1. Select the Film category which takes you to the images.

How Do I Analyze the Results?

Compare each result from your search with what you know to determine if there is a match. This may require viewing multiple records or images. Keep track of your research in a research log.

What Do I Do Next?

When you have located your ancestor’s record, carefully evaluate each piece of information given. These pieces of information may give you new biographical details that can lead you to other records about your ancestors. Add this new information to your records of each family.

I Found the Person I Was Looking For, What Now?

  • Use the marriage date and place as the basis for compiling a new family group or for verifying existing information.
  • Use the birth date or age along with the place of birth of each partner to find a couple's birth records and parents' names.
  • Use the birth date or age along with the place of birth to find the family in census records.
  • Use the residence and names of the parents to locate church and land records.
  • Use the parents' birth places to find former residences and to establish a migration pattern for the family.
  • Occupations listed can lead you to other types of records such as employment or military records.
  • The name of the officiator may be a clue to their religion or area of residence in the county. *Compile the entries for every person who has the same surname. This is especially helpful in rural areas or if the surname is unusual.
  • Continue to search the records to identify children, siblings, parents, and other relatives who may have been born, married, or died in the same county or nearby. This can help you identify other generations of your family or even the second marriage of a parent. Repeat this process for each new generation you identify.
  • When looking for a person who had a common name, look at all the entries for the name before deciding which is correct.
  • The information in the records is usually reliable.
  • Earlier records may not contain as much information as more recent records.
  • There is also some variation in the information given from one record to another record.

I Can't Find the Person I'm Looking For, What Now?

  • Look for variant spellings of the names. You should also look for alias names, nicknames and abbreviated names.
  • Search the indexes and records of nearby localities.
  • Try alternative search methods such as only filling in the surname search box (or the given name search box) on the landing page leaving the other box empty and then click on search. This should return a list of everyone with that particular name. You could then browse the list for individuals that may be your ancestor.

Citing This Collection

Citations help you keep track of places you have searched and sources you have found. Identifying your sources helps others find the records you used.

Collection Citation
Massachusetts Town Records, ca. 1638-1961." Database with images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : 14 June 2016. Town clerks and local churches, Massachusetts.
Record Citation:
When looking at a record, the citation is found below the record.

Image Citation:
When looking at an image, the citation is found on the Information tab at the bottom left of the screen.

How Can I Contribute to the FamilySearch Wiki?

We welcome user additions to FamilySearch Historical Records wiki articles. We are looking for additional information that will help readers understand the topic and better use the available records. We also need translations for collection titles and images in articles about records written in languages other than English. For specific needs, please visit WikiProject FamilySearch Records.

Please follow these guidelines as you make changes. Thank you for any contributions you may provide.